Editorial: A historic moment for voting rights beckons

Six decades ago, many states, particularly in the South, passed laws to suppress the votes of people of color. The techniques varied, but they were all quite insidious: poll taxes, literacy tests, English proficiency requirements among them. Civil rights activists, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., held large and often peaceful demonstrations against this assault on democracy, with Dr. King once observing from an Alabama cell that there are more Black people “in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls.” Local leaders proved unsympathetic and gladly sent in police to break up marches like Selma’s “Bloody Sunday,” where a 25-year-old protester named John Lewis led hundreds across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, only to be beaten down by state troopers.